Reducing Stigma: Exploring the intersections between trauma, race and criminalization

Women and gender diverse people in the criminal justice system have high rates of violence and trauma in their lifetime. Trauma can be both a direct and indirect pathway into criminalized activities and is often reproduced and worsened by experiences in the justice system. The experience of trauma and criminalization can be compounded by other intersecting identities, including race. Racialized women and gender diverse people are overrepresented in the criminal justice system and are the fastest growing prison population in Canada.

This research explores the relationship between trauma and criminalization among racialized women and highlights the dangerous stigma they face as a result. It discusses how intimate partner violence can be a pathway into the criminal justice system for survivors, and how the judgment surrounding criminalization remains a barrier to fleeing violence and resolving trauma. The report also speaks to what is needed to improve access to services for racialized survivors with experiences of criminalization.